It appears that DCP Abba Kyari only recruits the most brutal elements within the police force into his team.
This is ASP John Umoru, aka “Too Much Money”. He is a former SARS officer attached to the notorious SARS unit in Awkuzu, Anambra state.
I came across his name in 2017 while documenting the case of one Miracle Opara, a 23-year-old young man who was arrested on 13 February 2017 in Awkuzu, Anambra state, over a stolen phone and laptop. Miracle described how he was shot in the leg by ASP John Umoru and detained for four weeks without food or water.
Out of the nine persons detained with him, one person was granted bail after paying N500, 000, while seven others died of starvation. Here is an extract from my interview with Miracle Opara’s shortly after his release from detention:
“We waited for two days without any food or water. Then some of us started screaming from the cell, calling on them to come to give us water. Some of us started urinating and drinking the urine. One of the officers nicknamed “Too-much-money”) came to us and admonished us to save our strength that we have a long way to go.
Because of this “admonition”, we increased our shouts, telling them that it is better for them to kill us than to starve us to death. They told us that they would love to watch us die one after another. We continued screaming, calling for water, then the officers went and brought teargas and sprayed it on us but the effect was not much. We continued wailing. … They brought another type of teargas, powdered teargas, tied it to a wrapper, and released it on us. They then locked the passage gate, leaving us to choke to death. It was terrible. All my fellow inmates collapsed. Some were foaming from the mouth.
I was the only one conscious but the effect of the gas was bending my neck and twisting my two hands. We were in that condition for three days. On the 3rd day, they came to check whether we were still alive. When they found that we were still breathing, though the teargas dried almost all the water in our system, making us very weak. …We continued begging them to give us water, even in drops, but they refused and told us that they would watch us die one by one. Some of us who had money hidden inside our boxers begged them to go and collect it to buy us water.
Then the Station Officer of the station came and asked us whether we came into this world with any cloth, we said “no”. He asked us whether we would go in any cloth when we are leaving this world, we said “no”.
He then left without saying any further words to us. It was then we realized that it was a death sentence. After that week, one of us, Ifeanyi, was granted bail after the family paid huge money. We were now 9 inmates left in the cell. Before the end of that 2nd week, four of the inmates died (Okechukwu, Uchenna, Uchechukwu, and Chinedu).
The corpses were usually left with us in the cell till the next day before they were evacuated. During the 3rd week, three persons also died (Ngirima; Victor Azubuike, and Ojoto).
Each of them that died was left in the cell till after one day before it was evacuated, except Ojoto, whose corpse remained in the cell for three days and even started decomposing in the cell before he was removed. When they took the corpse of Ojoto, I was hearing their voices raging, “this one has decayed, there is no need taking him to Awkuzu, let’s bury him here). Then I managed with the little energy left in me and stretched and was peeping through the tiny window and saw them where they buried his corpse beside the soaker pit at the back of their station, there in Neni”
Miracle Opara was saved from imminent death when his family contacted the Anambra state-based human rights lawyer, Justus Uche Ijeoma, who intervened and facilitated his release.
Article Credit: Chidi Cali